5 policemen, 22 militants killed in Afghanistan | world | Hindustan Times
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5 policemen, 22 militants killed in Afghanistan

Suspected insurgents killed five Afghan policemen, said officials, as the US-led coalition announced its forces had killed 22 militants in operations against extremist networks.

world Updated: Jan 21, 2009 08:05 IST

Suspected insurgents killed five Afghan policemen, said officials on Tuesday, as the US-led coalition announced its forces had killed 22 militants in operations against extremist networks.

Explosives mounted on a bicycle blew up Tuesday in the centre of the southern city of Kandahar as a police vehicle passed by, witnesses said.

"Two policemen were killed, one policeman and a civilian have been wounded," said the provincial government spokesman, Zalmai Ayobi.

There was no claim of responsibility. The city has previously come under attack by Taliban insurgents, who swept into government in 1996 before being ousted five years later by the 2001 US-led invasion.

Three more policemen were killed in remote northwestern Afghanistan when the Taliban stormed a police post late Monday, officials said.

Another eight policemen were kidnapped in the attack, Badghis province deputy governor Abdul Ghani Sabir told AFP. He had no information about casualties among the attackers.

The US-led coalition, which is helping the Afghan government fight insurgents, said its soldiers had killed 22 militants, including two Taliban commanders, in various operations on Monday.

In the deadliest incident, 18 militants were killed with a Taliban commander in Kapisa province's Tagab Valley around 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of Kabul, it said in a statement.

The US-led military called in air strikes after ground forces exchanged fire with militants, it said.

None of the statistics or details in the US military statement could be independently confirmed.

Afghanistan is braced for another tough year in a Taliban-led insurgency that has steadily increased over the past three years.

About 30,000 extra US troops are expected to be deployed in the Central Asian nation and Barack Obama, due to be sworn in as US president later Tuesday, has vowed to make battling Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants one of his priorities.